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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Pathogenic Diseases and Movements of Wintering European Starlings Using Feedlots in Central Kansas


Kansas is a major producer of livestock and has an abundance of over-wintering European starlings. Roost sizes for over-wintering starlings can be as large as 5 million individuals. Starlings cause a substantial amount of economic damage to farmers. Escherichia coli O157:H7 and Salmonella can cause illness in both livestock and humans, and cattle with Johne’s disease must be culled. Crohn’s disease in humans is suspected to be caused from Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis (Johne’s disease). We banded, leg-flagged, and radio-tagged starlings using feedlots near Great Bend, Kansas. Our objectives were to track daily movements of starlings visiting feedlots in this area and screen starlings for E. coli O157:H7, Salmonella spp., and M. a. subsp. paratuberculosis. Preliminary data show that starlings in Kansas are moving among feedlots rather than remaining at one feedlot. Pathogens were detected at a low prevalence. Our results can be used to develop plans for the management of transmissible diseases carried by starlings.

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